How do we mourn our loved ones who have died? At an unexpected moment, we feel the gasp in our throat, we lower our face; tears erupt, then sobs. We hear—even mimic—the particular way they said our name, the special inflection in their voice that communicated connection, appreciation, hostility, demand. We ponder the shelves in the grocery store, looking for a particular brand . . . the overhead speakers bring a new song, and we walk to an unoccupied aisle, overcome with sadness we want no one to see. We pass a spot with a special fragrance; it takes us to a time when our loved one walked this spot with us. We see an object that our loved one used—one that is out of place for everyone else but is dear to us, and so it stays.
When we share the loss of loved ones with others, we tell stories. We relive endearing, awkward moments. Our mourning is touched with laughter and fond memories of some small craziness. We feel appreciation for the way our loved one gave meaning to our life. We regret things not said. We relive other close calls, times we took risks and felt the exhilaration of cheating death.
Like the paradox of particular pain that arises in ordinary moments or of grief that is touched with humor, we find the mystery of faith: Forgiveness and acceptance are bundled into justification, trust in the future rests in faith, and the promise of peace and hope endures in sharing God’s glory. On these blessings, our deepest griefs are borne.
Holy God—Lover, Beloved, Love—share in our suffering, that we may share in your peace, hope, and glory. Let us mourn well as we live on. Amen.
In our society we often privilege intellect and expertise. However, in Proverbs we read that God values wisdom. Wisdom has been present since the beginning, and some early theologians understand this Wisdom to be none other than the Son of God. Part of wisdom is understanding our place in the universe. The psalmist marvels at the vast display of God’s power in the heavens yet also recognizes that humans are a manifestation of God’s glory. The New Testament readings invoke the Trinity as we approach Trinity Sunday. Paul says that we have peace with God through Christ, and we are given the Holy Spirit. In John’s Gospel, we read that Jesus Christ has received everything from the Father, and the Spirit will guide his followers into all truth.
Read Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31. When have you heard God calling out to you?
Read Psalm 8. The author reminds us that our shortcomings are not because we are only human but because we fall short of our humanity. How do you strive to be more human—a little lower than God?
Read Romans 5:1-5. How do you allow God’s peace to calm you when you feel your life swirling around you?
Read John 16:12-15. To which person of the Trinity do you feel “closest”? How can you develop your relationship with the other two persons?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.